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Dell Offering "Open" PC

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the copying-a-disk-image-is-to-hard dept.

Hardware 426

Sans writes "Dell began offering a new desktop Dimension E510n PC this week with no operating system installed. The machine is designed for people who want to run open-source software such as Linux instead of Windows. The PC comes with a blank hard drive and a copy of the FreeDOS operating system, which can be installed by customers."

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Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (4, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 9 years ago | (#13721508)

This is the kind of thing that leads to misleading statistics...News headline: "Dell offers PCs without Windows but demand remains close to zero." Microsoft spokesman "It's obvious to us that most PC buyers want Windows running on their machines yadda yadda yadda..."

Who would buy this machine? A inexperienced home user? They wouldn't be interested in a computer that wouldn't even start up out of the box. Business? Business would buy the equivalent Windows machine for $70 less and replace Windows with Linux (assuming that was the intended use for the FreeDOS machine). Geeks? They'd recycle an old machine or build their own.

If Dell was serious about providing another OS on their hardware, they'd partner with a Linux company (Red Hat, Novell, Mandriva, Linspire, etc.) and let the Linux company provide the software support.

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (4, Informative)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | about 9 years ago | (#13721528)

They do... From TFA:

Despite its affinity for selling Windows-based computers, Dell is also a staunch supporter of Linux. The company has invested almost US$100 million in open-source developer Red Hat and sells PCs and servers based on its operating system, such as its Dell PowerEdge SC430 with a dual-core Pentium.

On the desktop, Dell has been installing Linux on its Precision workstations for a couple years. Dell spokesman Liem Nguyen said the company will continue to do so.

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (0)

motorsabbath (243336) | about 9 years ago | (#13721562)

Have you tried going to and ordering one of these desktop machines, preloaded with (say) Red Hat?

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (3, Interesting)

LnxAddct (679316) | about 9 years ago | (#13721633)

Yes, actually the law firm I work at has. Excellent support from both Dell and Red Hat.

Dell Machines w/Red Hat Pre-Loaded (4, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | about 9 years ago | (#13721661) spx/precn_n?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd []

Took less than 5 minutes of looking. Hit *customize* and make it your dream machine.


Re:Dell Machines w/Red Hat Pre-Loaded (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 9 years ago | (#13721820)

Can you get it without Red Hat installed? <g,d&r>

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 9 years ago | (#13721648)

Yes, they offer exactly one workstaion with Redhat Linux (monitor not included). It is "classified" as a business machine, which in itself isn't too big a deal except that you can't buy some stuff from Dell you might want for a home machine (for example, a better graphics card). Still, that makes this new offer (the FreeDOS machine) even more bizarre.

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (3, Insightful)

Evil W1zard (832703) | about 9 years ago | (#13721596)

While I agree for the most part this isn't much of a savings and the average home user probably won't bit on this, but there was one point in the article that is a truth and that is companies who use Dell will often have their own software licensing and baseline which means they wind up removing the OS that comes with the box. But a couple posts down someone mentions the cost savings between a naked OS and one with Windows and the savings are really not much. Additionally I wouldn't be surprised if Dell already caters to companies who make large purchases from that to give them "open" boxes... All-in-all this doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me.

How it works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721710)

Additionally I wouldn't be surprised if Dell already caters to companies who make large purchases from that to give them "open" boxes...

Almost but, not quite. The way it works at Dell and HP is that they provide the PC with your image factory installed. That's right, your company's specific image including OS, applications (even in house custom apps), all settings and configurations right down to the hostname and asset management stickers pre-installed at the factory. The end-user receives the PC, plugs it in and goes to work. Zero configuration.

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 years ago | (#13721741)

Microsoft spokesman "It's obvious to us that most PC buyers want Windows running on their machines yadda yadda yadda..."

Well - Let's be honest. Most buyers do want Windows on a PC they buy.

Re:Waste of time and source of FUD for Microsoft (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 years ago | (#13721755)

Businesses usually have contracts with Microsoft regarding the OS and will want a standardized image on all systems. So, although many larger businesses will also negotiate contracts with machine vendors, there could certainly be a market for this for businesses.

Home users who already have a licenses Windows version but need new hardware might just wanna buy this box and get their nephew to install the Windows they already have (or just add the old HDD to the new box) instead of just throwing away their expensive Windows license.

And as for geeks; if they don't have an old machine lying around, then in these times, it can be cheaper to just buy a complete box, then build your own. And why would a true geek want to do something he already knows he can?

Real news will be when Apple ... (2, Insightful)

klubar (591384) | about 9 years ago | (#13721821)

This isn't news (Dell has always had OS options). The real news will be when Apple offers machines with a choice of operating systems. Then we will be able to see how much the cost of the OS tax is on the Mac.

Remember... in slashdot land:

Lack of Microsoft choice = bad
Lack of Apple choice = brilliant

news? (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | about 9 years ago | (#13721510)

Dell has been selling machines with FreeDOS for some time. We've bought several (including the machine I'm typing this on) for work. Let me know when they start to ship with AMD chips. That will be news.

Re:news? (3, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 9 years ago | (#13721541)

The news is that the machines are now available "at the consumer level". However, it will flop. The typical home user is not going to buy a computer that they can't take home, set up, turn on, and have it work.

Re:news? (2, Informative)

TykeClone (668449) | about 9 years ago | (#13721564)

No one in their right mind would buy a "consumer level" machine from Dell - you have a lot more control over the configuration from their small business site - which is where these machines have been available in the past.

Re:news? (3, Informative)

F_Scentura (250214) | about 9 years ago | (#13721617)

Let alone the *horrible* support that comes with the Dell consumer line.

Re:news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721603)

Traditionally, the only difference with Dell's consumer machines was the software bundle, which this machine doesn't come with. So what's the story here? Dell changed their website organization? Wow.

Re:news? (5, Interesting)

TheViffer (128272) | about 9 years ago | (#13721587)

Apparently the original poster failed to mention that 99% of the time the machines that do not come with Windows are generally priced equal to or more then the comparable system with Windows. In addition to that, they generally never come with all the "free" offers Dell gives out with there PC's.

Right now Dell will see there 380n Precision workstation (no windows) for $1058. But I can go buy the 380 Precision workstation (with windows) for $1058 .. so where is the deal?

Re:news? (5, Funny)

Surt (22457) | about 9 years ago | (#13721660)

What I think you're seeing is the definitive proof that windows is worthless.

Re:news? (1)

interiot (50685) | about 9 years ago | (#13721748)

Hahaha, brilliant!

Re:news? (2, Interesting)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | about 9 years ago | (#13721780)

> so where is the deal?

The 380n comes with a one-year RedHat Enterprise WS subscription.

Maybe there's no deal because shipping a supported version of Linux isn't free, and in fact could be more expensive due to economies of scale. (XP Pro includes patch support for 5 more years at the same price).

Re:news? (1)

dsginter (104154) | about 9 years ago | (#13721751)

Dell has been selling machines with FreeDOS for some time.

Yep []

Re:news? (3, Interesting)

illcare (635543) | about 9 years ago | (#13721795)

I agree. One problem I have with Dell is, they usually do not apply their promotions (double memory, free LCD monitor) to their "n" series (systems with alternative OS). So during promotions, a Linux or a FreeDOS system ends up more expensive than a Windows system.

We are an all Linux shop here. But when we buy a system from Dell, we get a Windows system, wipe the harddrive and install Linux.


SHENANIGANS! (1, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#13721513)

From TFA:
Buying a PC without an operating system saves a step and eliminates the cost of the extra software.
I was curious, so I went to the Dell site and priced out some systems myself to see just how much you save. Here's what I found:

Dell Dimenson E510n (no OS installed): $774

IDENTICALLY CONFIGURED Dell Dimension E510 (only difference: comes with Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition installed): $804

So apparently, a copy of Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition costs $30.

I have to say I'm pretty disappointed with Dell....for a second there it looked like they might actually be doing something worthwhile, but upon doing the math, it's obvious they're just milking this whole Linux thing for their own personal gain. I'll continue building my systems from scratch, thanks.

Re:SHENANIGANS! (0, Redundant)

prionic6 (858109) | about 9 years ago | (#13721544)

30 $ may actually be pretty close to the cost of XP MCE for Dell.

Re:SHENANIGANS! (3, Informative)

itomato (91092) | about 9 years ago | (#13721557) aspx/featured_desktop2?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs []

After $50 Off Instantly!
Only an 80GB HD, but there's the bonus of a 17" LCD..


Holi (250190) | about 9 years ago | (#13721734)

Yes but thats with XP MCE. Where is the Free Dos model.


stupidfoo (836212) | about 9 years ago | (#13721840)

1. Wipe HD.
2. []


andersbergh (884714) | about 9 years ago | (#13721874)

3. ??? 4. Profit!

Re:SHENANIGANS! (5, Insightful)

ScootyPuffJr (912925) | about 9 years ago | (#13721560)

Have you considered that it probably does cost $30 to Dell? I remember hearing that dell pays $15 per license for plain XP, so this isn't an unreasonable price.

Microsoft offer tremendous volume discounts to OEMs to ensure they ship their computers with Windows.


interiot (50685) | about 9 years ago | (#13721785)

I thought that selling Windows on Dell's was Microsoft's most-desired upgrade path, since users don't usually upgrade ME => XP on their own. Is this incorrect?

Re:SHENANIGANS! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721580)

"it's obvious they're just milking this whole Linux thing for their own personal gain"

What do you expect from a company that sells computers? OF COURSE THEY ARE DOING IT TO MAKE MONEY. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THEM BEING IN BUSINESS.

Re:SHENANIGANS! (0, Redundant)

F_Scentura (250214) | about 9 years ago | (#13721705)

Obviously everything relating to Linux must be goodwill, sparkles and rainbows.

Re:SHENANIGANS! (0, Redundant)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | about 9 years ago | (#13721607)

apparently, a copy of Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition costs $30
A copy of Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition is worth $30, but it certainly doesn't sell for that. Really, if the Intel-Macs can be easily ported to, or simply run Windows software, then Windows won't be worth much. It'd still be used because of inertia, but really, all MS has is the software vendors. Outside of that, it's an inferior system, IMO.

Really, I totally agree that they should knock more off the price, if only because it no longer includes the expensive Office stuff. Which I also find overrated.

::Braces for first "-1, Flamebait" mod::.


tigerc (628630) | about 9 years ago | (#13721610)

Well, maybe that IS what it costs to them, given how many systems they sell. On Amazon right now, it costs $189; there's no reason why Dell (which is either the first or second largest computer manufacturer in the world) can't get that much of a discount when they probably sell millions of systems.

And maybe you have your own XP disc and don't want all that Dell crap installed on your system when you get it. It's 30 bucks...I'll take it.


vidarh (309115) | about 9 years ago | (#13721627)

Has it perhaps not occured to you that wholesale prices of Windows are significantly lower than retail prices? Especially to large OEM's such as Dell.

And if they'd set out to "milk the whole Linux thing" wouldn't they have included a Linux distribution or to instead?

They are responding to customer demand, nothing more, nothing less. That's how they stay in business and make money.


WormholeFiend (674934) | about 9 years ago | (#13721628)

No doubt.

It also increases their profit margin.


Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 9 years ago | (#13721656)

I'll continue building my systems from scratch, thanks.

How do you manage to etch the wires into the silicon?

BTW: MCE probably doesn't cost Dell $50 a copy.


Kadin2048 (468275) | about 9 years ago | (#13721729)

Etch? Ha. Real Men use point-to-point wiring.

Re:SHENANIGANS! (5, Interesting)

hands0n (878516) | about 9 years ago | (#13721674)

I have a Dell Premier login so I can configure machines for our company, and send the e-quote to our purchasing rep. Dell lists a bunch of "standard configurations" on the first page. If I choose an Optiplex GX 520 MT and configure it, for example, it costs more than if I go under Systems and choose the Optiplex GX 520 MT there. Some comparisons ... moving from the 40GB SATA hard drive to an 80GB SATA II hard drive costs $16.15, and changing to an optical mouse costs $11.90 on the standard configuration GX 520. If I do the same by going under Systems, the hard drive upgrade costs $11.25 and the mouse upgrade costs $10.50. Shenanigans is right!

Re:SHENANIGANS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721699)

When has Dell ever done anything but milk the computer industry for their own personal gain?

They don't do any software or hardware development at all. They're the middle-man of the computer industry. Do yourself a favor, if you want to support a company that tries to move the computer industry forward: buy an Apple, and IBM or a Sun box.

Re:SHENANIGANS! (3, Interesting)

anubis__ (168382) | about 9 years ago | (#13721712)

Its not just the price of XP Media Center you're taking into consideration there. There are a slew of vendors who pay to have their software and adware preinstalled on a new PC coming from a manufacturer such as Dell - all that crapware figures into the overall equation. If there's no OS, then there's no crapware included.

I received a Dell XPS last month and it came with no less than 7 media players for playing music (and the only one I wanted, iTunes, wasn't one of them). (I use the term adware above to refer to Real Advertiser which is included with virtually any PC with Windows as an OS from a manufacturer; I think the actual purpose of said program is to play video or music, albeit at really shitty quality, but I've never made it past the advertisements to find out.)

No shi*t (2, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | about 9 years ago | (#13721719)

Volume pricing on a windows license is about $30. We've covered this before. The price differential should be exactly $30 - it is - Dell is being honest (good for them).



dsginter (104154) | about 9 years ago | (#13721790)

I went over this previously and it was pointed out that Dell makes significant revenue by selling "seats" on their default Windows image. This effectively subsidizes the cost of Windows by a large factor.

If they sell a PC with FreeDOS, then they can't nag you to spend nearly a hundred on Antivirus (most of which os pocketted by Dell).

If you've ever turned on a Dell out-of-the-box, you can attest to the fact that it looks like a circus of "buy me" trialware crap.

Except prices aren't set this way. (1)

hey! (33014) | about 9 years ago | (#13721801)

So apparently, a copy of Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition costs $30.

I'm sure that Dell doesn't price it's machines cost + fixed margin. They price them to maximize profit.

Here are three possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: XP 2005 costs Dell rather more than $30.
Possible rataionale for pricing: 30 dollars is cheaper enough that people planning on installing a different operating system will buy this SKU instead of the equivalent Windows SKU. We pocket the difference as additional profit.

Scenario 2: XP Costs Dell a bit less than $30.
Possible rataionale for pricing (not very likely): Although are margins are somewhat lower, our volume may be higher by taking business away from competitors, e.g. people who object to paying the "Windows Tax" will buy this box instead of an equivalent Gateway.

Scenario 3: XP Costs Dell precisely $30.
Possible rataionale for pricing: there is insufficient gain in volume on reducing our margins to justify a lower price. Volume losses on price increases would cut into our net profit.

FreeDOS... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721515)

... is much more popular than Linux, of course. Seriously, does this mean Microsoft is still pulling strings somewhere at Dell, or what?

Re:FreeDOS... (0, Troll)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | about 9 years ago | (#13721638)

No, it means that the support costs of Linux would eat any savings you would see.

Re:FreeDOS... (1)

10Ghz (453478) | about 9 years ago | (#13721700)

Who said that they would have to support Linux? they could just ship the media with the computer. does Dell support FreeDOS? Does their hardware work with it flawlessly?

Re:FreeDOS... (1)

Holi (250190) | about 9 years ago | (#13721830)

Dell supports Dell installed OSes so if the install free dos then yes they support is. They don't want the headaches and costs of supporting Linux on home machines.

How is this news? (4, Informative)

gagravarr (148765) | about 9 years ago | (#13721525)

I've bought 3 desktop PCs from dell in the last year that came without an OS, and with a FreeDOS cd in the box. So, how does this announcement qualify as news?

Re:How is this news? (2, Informative)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 9 years ago | (#13721616)

Because the zdnet article is badly worded, and neither the submitter nor Taco knew that this is old news. If they'd read the article as far as the second paragraph , they'd have seen that "The computer is part of Dell's n-Series of PCs, which first started shipping without an operating system back in September 2002."

Re:How is this news? (1)

Iriel (810009) | about 9 years ago | (#13721676)

I suppose (though I could be wrong) that this is the first time Dell is actually marketing a OS-less system instead of leaving it as some obscurely shaped button near the copyright notice (slight exageration).

To me, this just sounds like Dell is getting desperate. I remember all those 'easy as Dell' sort of ads, which makes this idea seem like Apple marketing systems with a GUI-less UNIX preinstalled on it. If they really wanted to get a lot of geeks, they'd probably offer more in the way of AMD X2 chips and whatnot.

But that's just my opinion, take it as you will.

Remember January 26th 2004? (2, Funny)

mattyohe (517995) | about 9 years ago | (#13721543)

Re:Remember January 26th 2004? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721806)

And cheaper, too! $320 is much more reasonable than $770.

Perhaps I should look IN to these. (5, Funny)

LaminatorX (410794) | about 9 years ago | (#13721553)

Dell calls them "Open." Microsoft calls them "Naked."

[Quagmeyer]Aall Riiiight[/Quagmeyer}

Re:Perhaps I should look IN to these. (5, Funny)

NeuroManson (214835) | about 9 years ago | (#13721739)

I heard they ship with a 40 Giggigity hard drive (OH!)

If it's so open (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13721565)

Can I get one with an Opteron?

Re:If it's so open (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 9 years ago | (#13721655)

Clearly AMD can't support the load of having customers therefore we regret to inform you that we will not offer AMD products ... um...

Self-fulfilling prophecy if you ask me.

If you want real choice just find your local vendors and get them to order what you want. You support local business, you get what you want and often you don't pay more [or much more] than the monopoly controlled "wonder box" you get from Dell [et al.]


Re:If it's so open (2, Informative)

grub (11606) | about 9 years ago | (#13721671)

Nope, and Dell lost out on a new cluster here because of it. There are 14 nice IBM 1u dual Opterons racked up and running thanks to Dell's stubborn line in the sand on CPUs.

I applaud it (1)

MicroPat (895649) | about 9 years ago | (#13721578)

FINALLY they get it right! This is exactly what I did as soon as my Inspiron 9100 came -- wiped the HDD. At least they'll save a certain breed of desktop owners the trouble.

Re:I applaud it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721810)

FINALLY they get it right! This is exactly what I did as soon as my Inspiron 9100 came -- wiped the HDD. At least they'll save a certain breed of desktop owners the trouble.

Trouble of what? If you're installing something other than Windoze, you'll be partioning/formatting the drive anyway, so where do you save any time? It may actually save you time to have something like XP pre-installed, this way you can always do some quick testing of the hardware right out of the box, before you start you're re-install.

Other uses... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721588)

The machine is designed for people who want to run open-source software such as Linux instead of Windows

Or for people who want to run pirated versions of windows and save the odd $30.

Now this is a silly remark (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | about 9 years ago | (#13721870)

Why would someone pirate a XP OS if it comes for the low ammount of $30?.
Only the licences for the fonts included are much more worth than that.

b.t.w. I run Linux for years...

Pre-loaded and collecting dust... (-1, Flamebait)

Tominva1045 (587712) | about 9 years ago | (#13721591)

If they pre-loaded a bunch of them with Linux in a few months they'd be sitting in the far corner of the store collecting dust next to all the Apple stuff.

Re:Pre-loaded and collecting dust... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 9 years ago | (#13721792)

If they pre-loaded a bunch of them with Linux in a few months they'd be sitting in the far corner of the store collecting dust next to all the Apple stuff.

What store would that be? I've never seen any Dells for sale in any retail store.

Totally missing the point.. (0, Troll)

Tominva1045 (587712) | about 9 years ago | (#13721875)

Ok, two DIFFERENT stores.

There would be AS MUCH dust on the Linux pre-loaded boxes in one store as there is on the Apple systems (and Jeff Goldblum's career) in the other store.

good start (4, Insightful)

rayde (738949) | about 9 years ago | (#13721593)

this is a good start, too bad they're including FreeDOS disks and not free Ubuntu disks [] though. But I'd guess that the people who would buy this sort of machine already have access to some distributions.

Re:good start (1)

dancingmad (128588) | about 9 years ago | (#13721720)

Screw this Dell crap Has this best pickup line: "If you're the Matrix, then I'm the One" ever worked?

Re:good start (1)

TerranFury (726743) | about 9 years ago | (#13721809)

If she looks anything like Trinity, it won't take much of a pickup line at all.

Bill was right (5, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 9 years ago | (#13721594)

he envisioned back in '80s that PC with DOS will be good enough even in 2005.

Ahh, how amusing... (4, Insightful)

MaestroSartori (146297) | about 9 years ago | (#13721612)

...quite apart from being "old news", that is.

The number of times I've seen people post on here adamant that they don't want to pay the Microsoft Tax on a new PC, only to see the response so far to this, makes me smile. Complaining that the difference in cost is too small, or that Dell hasn't chosen their favourite Linux distro to put on there, doesn't have an AMD processor, blah blah blah.

It's a PC without a preinstalled forcibly-paid-for copy of Windows. So Dell gets Windows for cheap, you don't see a huge price difference, but all those people who wanted an MS-free PC can now buy one. You can't possibly be upset by that, can you???

Re:Ahh, how amusing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721689)

more like you can get the same machine $70 CHEAPER with windows loaded on it. .html []

Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (3, Interesting)

sarguin (702714) | about 9 years ago | (#13721623)

Open Source PC?? What if I already own a copy of Windows, simply _replace_ my current PC with a new one and use this copy of Windows. I don't want to pay a new copy of Windows each time I _replace_ my PC...

I can already buy a PC from my local "PC clone" vendor without Windows on it (Windows price removed) , so why is Dell, HP, IBM... can't do it?

Because the stock holders "care" (1)

Tominva1045 (587712) | about 9 years ago | (#13721643)

Your local PC clone guy likely doesn't have to answer to stock holders. Dell, etc. do so they have to find ways to placate the peasant rabble whilst keeping stock holders happy.

It's a balancing act.

Re:Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (3, Informative)

wedding (618458) | about 9 years ago | (#13721670)

Part of it would depend on how you acquired your seat of Windows. Remember that most copies are OEM, and would be tied to the hardware they shipped on. In that case, you _would_ have to buy that seat of XP if you wanted to run it on the new box.

Office etc are all the same when buying OEM. We just had a burglary a few months back, and had to repurchase Office (covered, so not a big thing,) because the CDs I had were OEM tied to the hardware that was no longer in my possession.

Re:Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721727)

Thats why you only upgrade one piece at a time, then the licence stays valid...

Re:Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (3, Informative)

diogenesx (580716) | about 9 years ago | (#13721704)

If you bought a brand name computer, you're out of luck if you want to install the copy of xp on another machine. The OEM licensing says that copy of XP is only valid for that individual pc. I tried using a copy of XP that came with a Dell on an HP computer. I had to call micrsoft for validation. They asked why I needed xp re-activated and I said I was moving it to my new PC. I was told that I could only use that copy on the Dell and that I must purchase a new copy for the new computer. I told the rep I'd install Linux instead, and I did ; ).

The moral of the story: If you want to use an OEM copy of XP on another computer. lie.

Re:Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (2, Interesting)

jmrSudbury (779091) | about 9 years ago | (#13721828)

You can install XP onto a new pc if you have the retail version instead of the OEM version. You can only install it 3 times though, unless Microsoft changed their policy since the last time I talked with them. We had a problem with the OEM version of XP we had put onto (and activated) on a new machine. We wanted to put it onto an older machine for testing, but we could not activate it. The Rep told me on the phone that that was because it was OEM that I was limited to one install. If the hard drive died and had to be replaced under warranty, then the rep would have (and later had to) reactivate the XP on the original system. If I had bought the retail version, then I am only limited to 3 installs. We ended up finishing our testing within the 30 day limit and put the old operating system back on the old machine.

Re:Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (1)

Wornstrom (920197) | about 9 years ago | (#13721838)

I had the same issue, but I just told the M$ rep I had taken all the useful components out of my Dell and transferred them to a new SFF case/mobo.

Re:Not necessarily "Open source" PC... (1)

spidrw (868429) | about 9 years ago | (#13721826)

Because your local "PC clone" vendor will probably charge you $180 for XP. That's why. Dell, HP, IBM can charge $30 for Windows because that what MS charges them, but ONLY because they practically make you get it with their PCs. It's not totally a bulk thing, but more of a guaranteed sale. A guaranteed sale raises market share, making it more profitable to sell other MS products. Even if Dell still sold a million PCs with Windows each year, but then also sold a million PCs without Windows, I have a funny feeling that MS would get a little angry and jack up Dell's cost of Windows...maybe even to what it costs your local vendor, who honestly probably gets his copies from Sam's Club.

Shifting Power: HP & Dell vs. Microsoft (5, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13721651)

In the past, PC makers that offered non-MS variants were allegedly punished by MS with higher prices, delayed access to info on future MS OSes, etc. That both Dell and HP are offering machines with Linux suggests that the power has shifted, that MS needs HP and Dell more than those big PC makers need MS.

Hey (2, Insightful)

freewaybear (906222) | about 9 years ago | (#13721654)

At least is a start, even if it's not entirely new "news". If they actually promoted this, and gave it a better price drop, people might realize that there is a choice, and that "windows" is not the computer. We can hope. Xandros user

Price Adjustment? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721663)

Well, I am assuming that the price will be lower to reflect the lack of Windows (~$100) and other application software (???). This would be beneficial for the knowledgeable user, who could install Linux and apps for $0.00!

Hmm... (0, Troll)

kurt_ram (906111) | about 9 years ago | (#13721665)

I dont think people who install Open Source Operating Systems on their PC are that dumb to get a PC from DELL.

Free DOS? (1)

sweetnjguy29 (880256) | about 9 years ago | (#13721666)

I didn't realize he was arrested and thrown in jail for copyright infringement.


Can I get the source for the BIOS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13721682)

I'll continue using my OpenCore FPGA, thanks.

would have been better (4, Insightful)

wesman83 (700326) | about 9 years ago | (#13721684)

if they put in a Nvidia card for the linux users.

Re:would have been better (1)

gninnor (792931) | about 9 years ago | (#13721793)

I was thinking along these lines. An open PC to me would be one in which the hardware is not proprietary on it's set up. Nothing to do with the OS.

Re:would have been better (1)

Dethboy (136650) | about 9 years ago | (#13721854)

Yeah - it would be interesting to know if they ship it with any kind of driver for the ATI.

Pirates! (3, Interesting)

Kylere (846597) | about 9 years ago | (#13721714)

Now Dell is promoting piracy! Hasn't Microsoft told us that selling machines without Windows just means that people install pirated copies of their OS? :-)

Nothing more than a PR stunt. (5, Insightful)

FellowConspirator (882908) | about 9 years ago | (#13721754)

How can you tell? Well, for starters, you can buy the same system with a hard disk twice the size with a 17" LCD monitor and Windows Media Center Edition for the same price.

More importantly, the 510n comes with an ATI card that will be difficult to get to work properly with (dunno if Xi Graphics is still in business), whereas the 510 uses an Intel chipset that, while not great, will probably work better.

And why not simply install a popular Linux distribution on it from the get go? They could "brand" it simply by adding a package with Dell-logo wallpapers, themes, and icon sets.

Dell's just grubbing for some positive press.

Re:Nothing more than a PR stunt. (3, Interesting)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 9 years ago | (#13721834)

I agree with your first point but not your second.

I recently built a brand new system for less than the price of this new Dell ($775). It has a new nForce4 Ultra motherboard, an Athlon 64 3200+ Venice, 1GB CAS2 RAM, 250GB SATA2 hard drive, and an ATI Radeon x800 Pro VIVO 256MB. Yeah, what I put together isn't the cutting edge, but it sure makes this Dell system look like a sad sack. Sure, I already had a monitor, case, keyboard, and mouse. Who doesn't?

As far as ATI support in Linux, I find that ATI's drivers have been pretty solid for at least the last two years. My Radeon 9500 and my x800 both work perfectly in Linux with, even with 64-bit drivers.

Dell and the Open PC.. (2, Funny)

jskline (301574) | about 9 years ago | (#13721762)

This can only spell one thing. Big trouble in little Dell!!

Micro$oft will undoubtedly begin the legal proceedings against Dell due to the fact that the fundamental purpose behind FreeDOS was to be able to run those old MSDOS programs!!! Microsoft wants em dead... dead... dead. Dell is just helping now to promote software piracy by mitigating users to continue to use those old MSDOS games and heaven forbid... Word for MSDOS! :-)


I *would* have bought this... (5, Informative)

fak3r (917687) | about 9 years ago | (#13721775)

I would have bought this earlier this year, as it stands I bought a Dimension 3.2G box for less than 500$. I DID NOT want to buy a machine with XP already installed on it, but get this; it was 80$ CHEAPER to buy the same machine with Windows than a 'naked' machine with a freeDOS option! I guess it's supply and demand, but it still irks the hell outta me that I paid the MS 'tax' and continued the 'look at home many ppl buy machines with XP installed!' FUD. Can these "Open" machines compete in price with Dell's (constantly) adverstised special? If not, I can't see too many ppl paying more for a machine with no OS vs a cheaper machine with XP (That I immediately installed over - no, I didn't look into the 'rebate' - sounds like it's a hassle anyway).

RTFM (4, Interesting)

ross_winn (610552) | about 9 years ago | (#13721819)

I just love that the use an ATI video card, an audigy sound card, and a Serial ATA drive. If you can pack more difficult components for linux into a single box I would be very surprised. Most distributions seem to have the USB issue under control, but the rest is laughable. The price is also out of this world.

Difference between Dell PC and a trampoline (5, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | about 9 years ago | (#13721847)

What's the difference between a Dell PC and a trampoline?

With a trampoline, you take off your shoes first.

as soon as I read (1)

Danzigism (881294) | about 9 years ago | (#13721852)

"The desktop retails for US$849 and comes with a Pentium 4 processor; 512MB of advanced DDR computer memory; a 128MB ATI Radeon X300SE HyperMemory video card; an 80GB serial ATA hard drive and a one-year limited warranty."

i nearly died.. i too, have paid about $500 for an almost identical system.. oh, and also, it comes with a gig of fuckin ram, and a 200 gig SATA drive.. what the fuck is this Dell?? Just a couple months ago you were offering a PC for $300 with a monitor!!! and THAT came with a $100 operating system!! this is re-goddamn-tarded..

cheaper support contracts (1)

wwwillem (253720) | about 9 years ago | (#13721863)

Didn't check it out if they do, but besides the cost savings for the purchase, Dell should also reduce the cost of their 1yr/3yr support cost. Of course the HW can still fail, but I'm sure that the majority of the calls in their support centers is about people having problems with their (Windows) software. When people install their own software, they are of course on their own on that topic.

A truly "open" PC would have FOSS BIOS (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 9 years ago | (#13721864)

A truly "open" PC would have:

FOSS software for anything flashable, including
- CPU microcode
- other code, e.g. video, etc. if flashable

To be "completely open" it must have
- no hardware, software, or anything else encumbered by trade secrets, patents, copyrights, etc. unless they were "free" as in FOSS.
- completely published specs, source code, and other design documents including specs for every component, so I can build my own from raw earth, all unencumbered

You will not have a "completely open" hardware PC in my lifetime but open-bios/microcode/etc is a possibility outside the USA. The USA is trending the opposite direction with DRM and "trusted computing."
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